A Carnival of Parting: The Tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chand as Sung and Told by Madhu Natisar Nath of Ghatiyali, Rajasthan

Overview

Madhu Natisar Nath is a Rajasthani farmer with no formal schooling. He is also a singer, a musician, and a storyteller. At the center of A Carnival of Parting are Madhu Nath's oral performances of two linked tales about the legendary
Indian kings, Bharthari of Ujjain and Gopi Chand of Bengal. Both characters, while still in their prime, leave thrones and families to be initiated as yogis—a process rich in adventure and melodrama, one that offers unique insights into popular ...

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Overview

Madhu Natisar Nath is a Rajasthani farmer with no formal schooling. He is also a singer, a musician, and a storyteller. At the center of A Carnival of Parting are Madhu Nath's oral performances of two linked tales about the legendary
Indian kings, Bharthari of Ujjain and Gopi Chand of Bengal. Both characters, while still in their prime, leave thrones and families to be initiated as yogis—a process rich in adventure and melodrama, one that offers unique insights into popular Hinduism's view of world renunciation. Ann Grodzins Gold presents these living oral epic traditions as flowing narratives, transmitting to Western readers the pleasures, moods, and interactive dimensions of a village bard's performance.

Three introductory chapters and an interpretive afterword, together with an appendix on the bard's language by linguist David Magier, supply A Carnival of Parting with a full range of ethnographic, historical, and cultural backgrounds. Gold gives a frank and engaging portrayal of the bard Madhu Nath and her work with him.

The tales are most profoundly concerned, Gold argues, with human rather than divine realities.
In a compelling afterword, she highlights their thematic emphases on politics, love, and death. Madhu Nath's vital colloquial telling of Gopi Chand and Bharthari's stories depicts renunciation as inevitable and interpersonal attachments as doomed, yet celebrates human existence as a "carnival of parting."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520075351
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/19/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Grodzins Gold is Associate Director of the South Asia Program and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. She is the author of Fruitful Journeys (California, 1988).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Note on Transcription and Transliteration
Introduction: The Tales in Their Contexts 1
1 Madhu Nath and His Performance 3
First Encounters 3
Madhu Nath's Performance 8
Madhu Nath's Stories in Synopsis 17
Madhu Nath's Performances for Me 20
Translation in Practice and Theory 24
Pottery Lessons 31
2 Naths or Jogis in North India 35
Nath Renunciatory Traditions in Story and History 37
Nath Jatis 47
3 Naths in Folklore and the Folklore of the Naths 54
Bharthari and Gopi Chand 57
Uncoupling 68
The Tale of King Bharthari 71
Pt. 1 Bharthari's Birth Story 73
Pt. 2 Bharthari's Detachment 105
Pt. 3 The Guru's Lesson 136
The Tale of King Gopi Chand 159
Pt. 1 Gopi Chand's Birth Story 161
Pt. 2 Gopi Chand Begs from Queen Patam De 182
Pt. 3 Gopi Chand's Journey to Bengal 219
Pt. 4 Instruction from Gorakh Nath 265
Afterword: Politics, Love, Death, and Destiny 311
Demographic Surges through Landscapes of Meaning 314
Unmaking Love 317
Mortality 326
Oral Performance and the Thick Writing of Fate 328
Appendix 1: The Language of the Bard 335
Appendix 2: Proper Nouns Transliterated 351
References 355
Index 367
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